Excerpts 08/02/2006

Dragons of Faerun Excerpt
By Eric L. Boyd and Eytan Bernstein

The Year of the Dragons is upon us, and the Forgotten Realms setting has a few things to show us about those majestic and sometimes terrible creatures. In Dragons of Faerun this book, Dungeon Masters are given information on specific dragons of Faerûn and how they may interact with or fight against the players. Avid readers of our website will note that some of the dragons from the Wyrms of the North series written by Ed Greenwood and updated by Eric L. Boyd and Sean K Reynolds are mentioned or further updated in this book. Dungeon Masters also receive information on organizations that players can belong to or work against, like the evil Cult of the Dragon. Also included is information on how to run a campaign that features the Year of Rogue Dragons, the one time every thousand years the dragons of Faerûn rampage across the continent. The excerpts below include short history of dragonkind in the setting, the dragon Tchazzar, a few lair hazards, and two magic items.

Helm of Supreme Wizardry

Helms of supreme wizardry are powerful Netherese artifacts capable of transforming a minor wizard into a mage of great power, albeit at considerable personal cost.

Lore: Characters can gain the following pieces of information about helms of supreme wizardry by making successful Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (history) checks.

DC 20: Helms of supreme wizardry date back to the Golden Age of Netheril. They allow the bearer to recapture the power of the great Netherese arcanists.

DC 25: Helms of supreme wizardry exact a terrible price from those who abuse their powers, leaving some who rely on them overmuch babbling fools incapable of preparing spells.

DC 35: Helms of supreme wizardry were the invention of the legendary Terraseer. He reportedly bequeathed such treasures to up-and-coming arcanists as a way to measure their wisdom and restraint. Curiously, most "successful" bearers of the helms have eventually vanished under mysterious circumstances, suggesting that those who pass the Terraseer's "test" are later recruited for some special purpose.

Description: This ornate, fluted helm is made of steel plated with a silver alloy and alters to fit the head of any creature that dons it.

Effect: A helm of supreme wizardry allows any wearer already able to cast wizard spells to prepare and cast two additional spells of each level from 6th through 9th (8 spells per day total). These are treated as bonus spell slots (as if from a very high Intelligence) and therefore apply only to casters already capable of casting spells of those levels (though such a caster can still use the slots to prepare lower-level spells or spells altered by metamagic feats). Casting a spell from one of these bonus slots deals 1d6+1 points of damage to the wearer immediately upon the completion of the spell. If the helm is removed, any bonus spells prepared while it was worn are immediately lost.

The helm has several drawbacks. First, if all the extra spells gained while the helm is worn are not cast within 12 hours of their preparation, the wearer loses all prepared wizard spells at the end of that period (including the bonus spells from the helm and any other wizard spells the wearer had prepared normally). The spell slots for those lost spells are considered expended (the wearer must rest again to reuse the spell slots). Only the bonus spell slots used by the wearer need to be expended to prevent this from happening. For example, a 12th-level wizard wearing a helm of supreme wizardry has access only to spell slots of 6th level and lower. She can use only the two bonus 6th-level spell slots from the helm, and if she casts both of those within 12 hours of preparing them, then this drawback is not triggered. (In other words, she is not penalized for not being able to use the higher-level bonus spell slots granted by the helm.)

The second drawback is that if the helm is ever used (not merely worn, but actually used to prepare spells in its bonus slots) by the same wearer twice in a tenday, it deals 1 point of Intelligence drain to the wearer, and that attempt to use the extra slots fails.

The third drawback is that if the helm is ever used twice in a single 30-day period by the same wearer to prepare spells of the same school, the preparation succeeds, but the wearer immediately takes 1 point of Intelligence drain and permanently loses 1 hit point. Despite this great price, as long as it is worn, the helm allows the wearer to cast these bonus spells, even if the Intelligence loss means the wearer could not normally cast spells of that level anymore.

For example, if the wearer uses the helm to prepare antimagic field and chain lightning, then 28 days later uses the helm to prepare greater dispel magic (the same school as antimagic field), the wearer would incur those losses. If she persisted in her folly and used the helm to prepare Bigby's forceful hand (the same school as chain lightning) she would experience the losses again. If her Intelligence was originally 16, she would now be reduced to Intelligence 14, normally not a high enough score to cast greater dispel magic or Bigby's forceful hand. However, the power of the helm allows her to still cast those spells (but not any other spells of 5th or 6th level that were prepared normally).

Strong transmutation; CL 20th; Weight 3 lb.

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